Quinoa, from seed to harvest

There are not a few users who have contacted me on social networks to get information about the sowing of Quinoa, so here I am with a new article dedicated to the cultivation ofsacred cereal of the Incas.

I approached the quinoa cultivation only a few years ago, when, during a trip toLatin AmericaI discovered this incredible food from the same family as spinach: thequinoait is not a cereal!

Therequinoait is widely cultivated by the Andean peoples, in fact the plant is indigenous and is described as thechisaya mama, the mother of all cereals.

In Venezuela, Peru and other Latin American countries, the sowing of Quinoais broadcast. The local agricultural laborers broadcast hectares and hectares of land and rake superficially without respecting any distance, they practice a posthumous thinning.

The amount of seeds to use depends on the yield, say from 3 to 5 tons per acre. The yield of a crop ofquinoareaches 170 - 200 kg per hectare. Before thesowingto optimize the yield, phosphorus is added to the soil. ThereQuinoaprefers well-drained, not very fertile soil and grows best in slightly sandy soils. The ideal soil pH is between 6 and 8.5. The seedbed must be well prepared and drained.

Only rarely do Andean farm laborers decide to sow quinoa in containers and transplant the already developed seedlings into the soil. In this case, the distances to be respected are 30 cm between one plant and another and about 35 cm between one row and another. For the sowing mechanics bury 5-10 seeds at a depth of 5 mm respecting the distances described above.

Personally I have never tried but… According to Peruvian farmers, thequinoahas very short germination times: it would be enough to put the seeds in a glass of water for 2-4 hours to see the first ones appear sprouts.

For thesowing quinoathere is no ideal period nor a predetermined harvest time: the growth of the plant is very variable due to the great complexity of the different subspecies, varieties and local races. Generally it can be said that thequinoait grows best where daytime temperatures do not exceed 32 ° and night temperatures never drop below 4 ° C; germination is facilitated with temperatures between 18 - 24 °. However, as stated, there are cultivars that are more resistant to cold and others that do not tolerate temperatures below 10 ° C.

For the period of sowing and other information, I invite you to read the articleHow to grow quinoa,more useful for those who intend cultivating quinoa in the garden domestic but less practical for someone who wants to start one cultivation of quinoa in the open field.

In Latin America nobody collects the quinoa with machines because mechanization spoils the seeds and so the laborers are no longer able to market the product. The harvest is done manually also because the seeds can ripen at different times; many farmers manage to produce quinoa in stages by adopting different cultivars.

For more information on the cultivation, the sowing and the properties of quinoa I recommend reading the article: Quinoa, properties and cultivation.

In the photo above, quinoa threshing in Peru.

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Video: How to Grow and Harvest Quinoa - Vancouver, Canada (January 2022).